Living in Light of Two Ages
One of the hardest things to do in life is to say "goodbye" to dear friends. It is even harder when these dear friends are folks with whom you've labored together in serving Christ and his church.
Dr. Pam Compton was Christ Reformed's organist for more than ten years. Pam is not only a great organist (frankly, she's the best!), I cannot tell you how many times she helped me with hymn selection, selected better tunes for congregational singing, and prevented me from otherwise embarrassing myself due to my musical ignorance. Pam, thanks for every note!
Andrew served Christ Reformed for the past five years as our associate pastor. Talk about a faithful shepherd! Andrew preached Christ boldly, and faithfully counseled, married, buried, and tended the flock with that rare and God-given balance between strong words and words of compassion. Andrew, what a great blessing and a joy it was to serve with you as a co-laborer in the gospel ministry.
Pam and Andrew, I cannot thank you enough for your years of faithful service and hard work. To a person, our congregation feels the same way. We are praying for a wonderful, new chapter in your lives.
We will miss you both dearly, but we send you on your way with our heartiest blessings and we wish you well in your new endeavors in Indiana as Andrew takes up the task of teaching Old Testament at Mid-America Reformed Seminary.
Until we meet again!
The First in a Series of Sermons on 2 Peter
We begin an eight-part study of the Second Epistle of Peter, continuing our larger series on 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. From the moment we open this all-too often overlooked, but very important letter ascribed to the Apostle Peter, it soon becomes apparent that there are a number of problems to faced by anyone who attempts to preach through this letter, or treat it as a genuine apostolic document that belongs among those God-breathed writings which make up the canon of the New Testament. In fact, the problems we encounter with this epistle are significant enough that the vast majority of biblical scholars dismiss even the possibility that this epistle was written by the Apostle Peter–in spite of the opening words in which the author claims to be “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” Despite the judgment of so many scholars to the contrary, I think a good case can be made for Petrine authorship of this short epistle, and that it does indeed belong in the canon of the New Testament.
A sermon is not a good (or really even an appropriate) place to tackle complicated questions of New Testament introduction. Since these difficulties are so apparent in 2 Peter, and since we will spend several Sundays in this letter, we cannot ignore the matter. So, we will address the questions of authorship and authenticity, and then survey some of the theological themes in this epistle, before we conclude by briefly taking up the opening greeting from Peter found in the first two verses.
Called the “ugly stepchild” of the New Testament–because there are so many issues surrounding its authenticity–the reader of this epistle will soon notice two important difficulties. First, even upon a cursory reading, it is clear that there significant differences in the style of writing and choice of words between 1 and 2 Peter–a problem which must be addressed if the Apostle Peter is responsible for both epistles. As Richard Bauckham has pointed out, there are some fifty-seven words in 2 Peter not found anywhere else in the New Testament (so-called hapax legomena), as well as thirty-two words used in 2 Peter which are not found in the LXX. This means that many of the words the author uses are not “biblical” in the sense that they are not drawn directly from the Old Testament. Since many of these unique words are widely used in Hellenistic Greek writings, this fact suggests to many that the author was someone more cosmopolitan than a man like Simon Peter, a Galilean fisherman.
Even John Calvin had reservations about this epistle on this same ground, noting “there were some who were led by the diversity of style to think that Peter was not the author. Although some difficulty can be traced, I admit that there is a clear difference which argues for different writers.” Yet, despite such reservations, Calvin accepts the epistle as genuine on the grounds that the “majesty of the Spirit of Christ expresses itself in all parts of the epistle, [therefore] I have a dread of repudiating it, even though I do not recognize in it the genuine language of Peter.” Calvin raises the question many others have asked as well. How could the same writer produce two letters so different in both style and wording?
To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here
Sunday Morning, May 8: We are privileged to have Rev. Danny Hyde preaching this Lord's Day on Ruth 1:1-22 and Ephesians 2:11-22. His sermon is entitled, "Where Would You Turn?" Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Afternoon: Rev. Hyde will be covering article 26 of the Belgic Confession, "The Glory of Our Ascended Mediator." Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, May 4: We are going verse by verse through 1 Thessalonians. We have come to chapter 4:13 ff., and are discussing Paul's doctrine of our Lord's second advent. Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Ascension of Christ
On this program the hosts will begin a new series discussing the ascension of Christ. What is the ascension? Where do we find this important event in Scripture? How does the Old Testament prophecy this important event of redemption?
After being born of a virgin and living a life that honored God, Jesus Christ laid down his life for his sheep. After he was raised for our justification, he ascended into heaven. But why did he leave his church behind? What is significant about his ascension to the right hand of God? Join the hosts for this discussion of the nature of Christ’s kingdom as they introduce their new series, “The Ascension of Christ,” on the White Horse Inn.
There was a time in my life when I thought belief in premillennialism and a "pre-trib" rapture were signs of allegiance to biblical inerrancy and theological orthodoxy. Anyone who rejected this view, in my mind, was suspect and probably did not take the Bible very seriously.
As many of you know, my journey to amillennialism was a slow and painful slog. Apparently, I am not the only one who has grown disenchanted with the "Pre-Trib" rapture view, once held by the vast majority of American evangelicals.
In a recent poll conducted by CT of 1000 Protestant senior pastors, only 36% affirmed the "Pre-Trib" doctrine as true--although nearly half remain premillennial (48%). The shock is that 31% are now amillennial. A near majority of pastors asked (49%), affirmed a future Antichrist (as do most amillennarians and premillennarians).
While there's nothing earth-shattering in these numbers, they do reveal significant reduction of the influence of dispensationalism among evangelicals, along with a steady rise in those affirming amillennialism.
You can see the poll here: CT Poll on End Times Views
The Twelfth and Final in a Series of Sermons on 1 Peter
What do you say to Christians who have been displaced from their homes by a cruel and cynical act of a pagan emperor? How do you comfort a persecuted people who see no relief in sight from their troubles? What do you say to people who are reviled and cursed because they profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Creator, redeemer, and Lord, and refuse to worship Caesar or the pantheon of pagan gods? How do you comfort a people who are mocked because they follow the teaching of Jesus, and therefore refuse to indulge every bodily urge simply because those urges exist? If you are the Apostle Peter, you tell them the truth. The reality is that fiery trials come with being a Christian in a pagan environment. Yet, these trials are also the means through which God strengthens our faith. Just as it was with Jesus–that the cross of Good Friday precedes the empty tomb of Easter–so too it is with Christians. Suffering precedes the glory yet to be revealed. Peter also tells them that despite their troubles, God has not cast them off. Regardless of how they feel, those who believe in Jesus are his elect exiles, his spiritual temple, possessing a heavenly citizenship which guarantees all the blessings of eternal life and a heavenly inheritance. Peter also tells them, that Christians must strive to humble themselves before God, and learn to cast all of their cares and worries upon the sovereign God who is also their loving father. As they do so, Christians begin to live in the hope of the eternal glories yet to come.
With this sermon, we wrap-up our series on 1 Peter. Last time, we devoted our attention to several of the points raised by Peter in the final section of this epistle (vv. 1-14 of chapter 5)–specifically Peter’s reference to the office of elder, which functions as a bulwark against the schemes of the devil, the adversary, who is looking for struggling Christians to devour. This morning, we will cover the same ground, but focus upon two different themes in the text–humbling ourselves before God, while at the same time learning to cast all of our cares upon him. This will bring our series on 1 Peter to an end.
Peter wraps up his lengthy series of exhortations (imperatives) to suffering Christians–the elect exiles of the Diaspora of Asia Minor–by directing his audience’s focus away from those external circumstances under which Christians are struggling, to internal and pastoral matters. Before extending greetings to several individuals and concluding his letter, Peter addresses those things the churches and their leaders ought to be doing so as to persevere through difficult times. As we saw last time, Peter begins with an exhortation to the elders of the churches receiving this letter. In verses 1-2, he writes, “so I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you . . .” Jesus is the chief shepherd of his church, and he calls church officers (“elders” and ministers) to shepherd his flock as “under-shepherds.”
The reference to Christ’s church as a “flock,” is a metaphor widely used throughout the Old Testament in reference to those instances where sinful individuals are likened to sheep because of the tendency of sheep to wander away from the flock and place themselves in peril. A sheep which is separated from rest of the flock is completely helpless and likely to become an easy meal for any of the common predators in the area–wolves, jackals, coyotes, or even lions. Apart from a shepherd, who leads and protects them, the sheep are lost, they know not where to go, nor what to do.
To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here
Sunday Morning, May 1: We take up one of the most famous passages in the Book of Daniel (chapter 6) and the story of Daniel in the lion's den. Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.
Note: The Compton farewell luncheon begins immediately after our morning worship service
Sunday Afternoon: We will take up Lord's Day 11 (Q 29-30) and begin a discussion of the person and work of Christ. Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, April 27: We are going verse by verse through 1 Thessalonians. We working our way through chapter 4 and will be tackling Paul's teaching regarding Christ's second advent. Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.